When we carry heavy things...

I took this photo while I was in Rwanda in early 2017, and it is a metaphor for how we've been doing. Since the end of Season 1 of the Love Better Podcasts, we have been carrying some heavy things while still trying to move forward.

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I can't help but notice how easy this Rwandan man makes it look to haul a large piece of furniture around...on his back...ALONE! 

I have tried moving furniture - with Scott's help - and let's just say I'm not the first person anyone calls to help move heavy objects. I can't imagine how much strength this man must've built up (carrying other heavy things, no doubt) to be trekking down the road on foot (OH, and talking on his cell phone) like it's no big deal. Assuming he didn't have a friend he could trust to help him or a neighbor with a truck, I guess he just did what he had to do.

Most of us, on any given day, are dealing with weighty things that aren't quite this obvious to the people around us. Over time we adjust and learn to keep functioning as if it's no big deal. We might build up an impressive capacity for carrying our stuff around when, in truth, we are expending every ounce of energy we can summon to put one foot in front of the other.

Soon after I captured the photo above (from a moving vehicle packed with people) we passed a huge group of people carrying a giant wooden beam together. My photo blurred as I tried to quickly capture the massive project this group of neighbors was accomplishing together. I missed the shot but it is crystal clear in my memory how this group of people leveraged their collective strength and moved in synchronicity with one another to accomplish a task bigger than any of them could have done alone.

Trust me when I say, we ALL carry heavy loads. Some are furniture-sized and some are massive beams. The weight of pain, disappointment, regret, anger, uncertainty, confusion, stress, abandonment and disillusionment feels so huge - so obvious to us - yet it's invisible to people rushing by. We would love to lighten the load, yet it's tough to know where to start or who to trust. It's humbling to admit when we need someone else's strength for the load that we've always tried to manage ourselves.

Some of us have turned to people - possibly even church people - who only made the load harder to manage. Maybe the people who were supposed to be the most helpful actually dropped the other end. Or maybe we were the ones who dropped out of the equation. Either way, what we are learning with profound clarity is how the most difficult parts of our stories can either connect us - to our own humanity and to one another - or create a chasm that isolates us. We choose.

We have taken a lot of time to process and sort out what we have to say (and how to say it better) during the next phase of Love Better. We have met new friends - both in our community and on other continents - and we've reconnected with longtime friends. All of them have given us a renewed perspective on what "loving our neighbor" looks like in our current climate. They've offered their strength when ours was waning.

Just this week I sat down with two women who have agreed to be load-sharers with me. One of them had a profound spiritual experience as a song played on her car radio days earlier and she was filled with relief, peace, rest. She realized in those moments she had encountered the real deal - the Big Kahuna - the Eternal Voice who said more than two thousand years ago, "Come to me... I will give you rest." He is the One who knew how to love better than anyone before or after him, and his whole purpose in life was to come and show us what that kind of love looks like. It's the voice of a helper, a lover, a giver of life (not the voice of shame and fear that bears nothing of His resemblance).

Scott and I are regrouping and laying the tracks for a brand new era of Love Better. And we can't wait to move forward with you all. In the meantime, talk to us! Email or comment below on this post! We invite you to "like" the Love Better Facebook page and share your stories, ideas, topics you'd like to discuss, and the real-life challenges you're dealing with in this shared quest for a more loving world!

Emily SutherlandComment